Did the Govt act with stealth on SG amnesty?

The Federal Government surprised virtually the entire superannuation industry with its announcement last month that it was introducing legislation to allow employers an amnesty to make good the underpayment or non-payment of workers’ superannuation guarantee entitlements.

Hearings of the Senate Economics Legislation Committee have revealed that the key superannuation industry and financial services organisations were unaware of the Government’s intentions until the legislation was actually announced.

The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA), the Financial Services Council (FSC) and Industry Super Australia (ISA) all evinced no knowledge of the legislation before its announcement, suggesting no detailed consultation occurred around the measure.

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However, both the ASFA and the FSC suggested that the year-long amnesty might actually serve a useful purpose in helping employers, particularly smaller employers, make good their unpaid or underpaid SG obligations.

Asked during hearings of the Senate Economics Legislation Committee whether the FSC’s members had been calling for the amnesty, the organisation’s senior policy manager, Michael Potter, answered “no”.

Similarly, he said that the FSC had not done any work in terms of the amount of SG payments which might be recovered as a result of the amnesty.

Industry Super Australia economist, Matthew Linden also confirmed that his organisation had not been aware of the Government’s intentions on the SG amnesty and told the committee that its introduction would have been news to many people in the industry.

“It is a little bit unusual that we don’t have consultation on an issue such as this,” he said.




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